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Cambridge Analytica managed to harvest the data of tens of millions of Facebook users. This was done using an app that was able to collect the data of not only users who had given their consent, but also of all of their Facebook friends. The data was then used to create profiles that was used to target individuals with personalised political advertising, which is against Facebook’s ‘platform policy’.
“We are investigating the circumstances in which Facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used,” said the information commissioner Elizabeth Denham. “It’s part of our ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes which was launched to consider how political parties and campaigns, data analytics companies and social media platforms in the UK are using and analysing people’s personal information to micro-target voters.”